Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Editing a Record on Family Search

    ©  Kathy Duncan, 2023

Recently, I discovered that I had misidentified my ancestor John Lewis on the 1830 census of Jackson County, Alabama because his name had been incorrectly transcribed by a Family Search indexer. Once the mistake a mistake like that is found it can be corrected by editing the entry.

Here is how the mistranscribed entry looked -

John Lewis had been indexed as John "Seuss," making him impossible to find since the two names are not the same phonetically. It is possible to edit this entry.

In the image index window, there is a page icon. Click on it.

A full page for John Seuss opens up with an edit button below his name. This, I believe, only happens when you use the new version of Family Search.

Click on the edit button and select make a new edit. 

Then click the "select a field" button. The field that I have the option to edit on this particular record his the name, which is what I want to edit.

My next step is to replace Seuss with Lewis. Highlight Lewis on the census page very carefully so that it is still readable. Then select a reason for the edit and save.


Recalculating John D. Lewis's Estimated Age

   ©  Kathy Duncan, 2023

While working on my post for Daniel Adams Lewis, son of John D. Lewis, I found myself scrolling through Daniel Lewis's 1830 Jackson County, Alabama census entry. Having just looked at the Family Maps of Jackson County, Alabama, I noticed that on the census he was surrounded by the same men who were around him on the map. I noticed my ancestor, William Mason, and paused long enough to wonder if I had located his 1830 census entry before. His name looks like "Ulm Mason," so I wondered if he might have been indexed in some wonky that would have prevented me from finding him with the search engine on Family Search. Then I scrolled to the next page and gasped. There was John Lewis, and I knew immediately that he was not the John Lewis that I had previously identified on the 1830 census in a previous post. I was just as sure that this was "my" John Lewis and that the other John Lewis I had identified was not.

So what had gone wrong before? After flipping back and forth between tabs and the search engine. I realized that there was only one John Lewis appearing in the Family Search index/search engine:

A careful inspection of the page that "my" John Lewis appears on in Jackson County, Alabama reveals that Family Search indexed him as "John Seuss" rather than John Lewis, which makes him unfindable with a search engine:

Notice that James Cotton was indexed as James Catton and Wm Dottery does not appear below "John Seuss" in the indexing although I think he probably turns up in a search. I'm not sure why all of the names on this page do not appear on the image index. It is the same situation for the page before this which contains the sons of John Lewis. 

I will use the information from the image index to edit John Lewis's name in the index and will create a post on how to do that. 

When I found this error on my part, a little voice in my head started chiming "make a U-turn at your earliest convenience, make a U-turn at your earliest convenience. . .recalculating, recalculating."

This time I am going to calculate John Lewis's age from 1840 backward.

Here is John Lewis on the 1840 McNairy County, Tennessee census:

1840 McNairy County, Tennessee Census

John Lewis 000100001-100011

one male 15 - 19 = unknown male
one male 60 - 69 = John Lewis
one female 1 - 4 = Emily Lewis
one female 20 - 29 = Jane Lewis
one female 30 - 39 = Jane (Dameron) Hambrick Lewis

This census brackets John Lewis's birth date as being from 1771 at the earliest and 1780 at the latest.

Clicking on the next image reveals the enslaved persons in John Lewis's 1840 household:


one male 10 -23 = unknown male
one male 36 - 54 = unknown male
one female 10 - 23 = unknown female

Now the "new" 1830 Jackson County, Alabama census entry:

John Lewis 01010001-00200001

one male 5-9 = John Lewis? one unknown? two unknowns?
one male 15-19 = Spencer Lewis? John Lewis?
one male 50-59 = John Lewis
two females 10-14 = Elizabeth Lewis, Jane Lewis
one female 50-59 = wife of John Lewis

On this census, John Lewis's birth date is still in the 1771 to 1780 range. Of greater importance is the presence of a wife for John Lewis. Her birth date range is also 1771 to 1780, making her a contemporary of John's. Traditionally, she has been identified as Susan Daniel although there is no documentation, as yet, to support that. Certainly, the interaction between John Lewis and the Daniel family makes it very likely that she was a Daniel. John Lewis's wife must have died sometime between the 1830 census and John Lewis's marriage to Jane (Dameron) Hambrick prior to daughter Emily Lewis's birth in 1838. 

Clicking on the next image in Family Search reveals the enslaved persons in the John Lewis household in 1830:

The second line in this image corresponds to the line that John Lewis is on:


one male 1-9 = unknown male
two males 24-35 = two unknown males
one female 1-9 = unknown female
one female 24-35 = unknown female

There are only partially surviving census records for Alabama and Tennessee in 1820. John Lewis seems to have been in Alabama by 1817 when his daughter Jane Lewis was born, but he does not appear on the surviving 1820 census for Alabama.

In 1810, John Lewis is most likely to be the John Lewis on the Knox County, Kentucky census:

John Lewis 2201-3001

two males 1-9 = Joel D. Lewis, Daniel A. Lewis
two males 10-15 = Wiley Lewis, Henry Lewis
one male 26 - 44 =  John Lewis
three females 1-9 = Celia Lewis, Matilda Lewis
one female 26-44 = wife of John Lewis
no enslaved persons

The ages for the adults fall into a larger birth date bracket than the later censuses. For 1810 both adults' ages can be bracketed as being no earlier than 1766 and no later than 1784. The result is that both John Lewis and his wife's birth dates remain in the 1771 to 1780 bracket, which remains basically the same as I had concluded previously. At this point, I need another record to help narrow down their birth dates.

The lesson here is to look beyond search engine results. The old census indexes in book form would come in handy for this. 

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Daniel A. Lewis, Son of John D. Lewis

         ©  Kathy Duncan, 2023

On 1 May 1828, Daniel A. Lewis, the son of John D. Lewis, married Betsey Hughes in Madison County, Alabama. They were married by Joseph Rice, J.P. Betsey Hughes was the young widow of Thomas Hughes, who she had married on 8 November 1826 in Madison County. She was also the daughter of William Young. 

In 1830, Daniel Lewis and his family were living in Jackson County, Alabama, surrounded by households headed by other Lewis family members: Henry Lewis, William Mason (husband of Matilda Lewis), Joel Lewis, and his father - John Lewis. 

Click on Image to Enlarge

Composition of Daniel Lewis's household in 1830:

Daniel Lewis 20001-000001

Two males 1-4 years = two unknown males
One male 20 - 29 years = Daniel Lewis
One female 30 - 39 years = Betsey (Young) Hughes Lewis

The two unknown boys under five years old could be sons from Betsey's marriage to Thomas Hughes, or one could be from her Hughes marriage and one from her marriage to Daniel Lewis or both could be from her marriage to Daniel Lewis. At this time, I am unable to identify them. 

On 30 July 1833, Daniel Adams Lewis patented 82 acres in Jackson County, Alabama.

His name appears four times on the certificate, and each time it is written out in full: Daniel Adams Lewis.

So far, this is the only primary document that contains his middle name. I'm not sure why earlier researchers came to the conclusion that his middle name was Augustus, and I don't know who was the first person to think that his middle name was Augustus. Was there a Daniel Adams for whom Daniel was named? What was Daniel Adams' connection to John D. Lewis? There was a Daniel Adams in Knox County, Kentucky before 1810.

Family Maps of Jackson County, Alabama shows Daniel A. Lewis's land in Jackson County bordered on the north by the land of his brother Joel D. Lewis and on the south by the land of  Kibble T. Daniel. The northwest corner of Daniel's land met the southeast corner of his father John Lewis's land. 

Between 1830 and 1838, Daniel and Betsey Lewis had six known children:

  1. Celia Sarah Louise Lewis b.c. 1829 TN or AL
  2. William S. Lewis c. 1831 AL
  3. Charlotte Temple Lewis b. 14 March 1834 AL
  4. Susan M Lewis b. 27 September 1835 AL
  5. Mansel W. Lewis b. c. 1837 AL
  6. Elizabeth Ann Lewis b. 23 March 1838 AL
I would hazard a guess that Mansel W. Lewis was named after Rev. Mansel Walter Matthews. This suggests to me that the Disciples of Christ played a big role in the family's life. At the time of little Mansel W. Lewis's birth, Rev. Mansel W. Matthews had already gone to Texas. 

The oral tradition among the descendants of Betsey (Young) Hughes Lewis is that she died in childbirth in 1838.

On 1 January 1840, John D. Lewis wrote his will. Copies of it were filed in several courthouses. One copy survived in the Tishomingo County, Mississippi courthouse. The will disinherits Daniel Lewis by bequeathing one dollar to him. Here's what the will said in regards to Daniel: "And I give and bequeath to my Son Daniel A. Lewis one dollar out of my property, at my death..." Most testators go on to state that the heir has already received an equal share in the estate. However, John Lewis's will takes a twist: "I desire that my Son Daniel A. Lewis children that is to Say his first Wife & Children to have as much of my estate between them as any other of my Sons and daughters will shear, that is I want all of my son Daniel Children above named to only have as much between them all as one of my heirs as Say Son or Daughter with the exception of one hundred dollars, that I want them to lack one hundred dollars of getting as much between them all as one of my other heirs." 

Some insights can be gained from these statements: 1.)  Daniel A. Lewis was living at the time his father's will was written; 2.)  Daniel had elicited his father's ire; 3.) Daniel had on top of everything else received $100 from his father and not paid it back, so it was to be withheld; 4.) Daniel's share was to go to his children by his first wife; 5.) Daniel A. Lewis did nothing between 1840, when the will was written, and 1843, when John Lewis died,  to redeem himself because there was not a codicil added; 6.) it seems like his first wife was supposed to be an heir as well her children by Daniel; 7.) Betsey (Young) Hughes Lewis is either still living in January of 1840 or John Lewis did not know she was deceased because she is not referred to as deceased; and 8.) if there was a first wife, there was probably at least a second wife. 

Is it possible that John D. Lewis's daughter-in-law Betsey Lewis could have been deceased for nearly two years, and he did not know it? If they were still living nearby in Jackson County, he would surely know who was still living and where they were living. Wouldn't he? Or is it an error in the way the will was written?

In 1872, Ann Sharp stated that John D. Lewis had told her that he was disinheriting his son Wiley Lewis because he was reckless and dissipated. When asked why Daniel Lewis was disinherited, she said that she did not know. 

By 1840, Daniel Lewis can be found in Crittenden County, Arkansas, where his brother Wiley Lewis still was living. Daniel's household is next door to John M D'Spaine who married as his second wife Margaret (Lewis) Daugherty, Daniel's sister after migrating to Hopkins County, Texas. Researcher Chuck DeSpain alerted me to the idea that Daniel Lewis had married John DeSpains's sister Tempie DeSpain. Both John and Tempie DeSpain were the children of John and Charlotte (Daniel) DeSpain. 

Composition of the Daniel Lewis household, 1840 Crittenden County, Arkansas:

Daniel Lewis 100001 - 00001

One male 1 - 4 years = Allen Lewis
One male 30 - 39 years = Daniel Lewis
One female 20 - 29 = Tempie (DeSpain) Lewis

The 1850 census reveals more about Daniel and Tempie's family and their relationship. By 1850, Tempie was no longer with Daniel. Instead, she was married to William Thomson and living in Hardin County, Tennessee near her brother Peter DeSpain, who can be seen in the household listed above hers.  She had four children by Daniel Lewis and one by William Thomson (her daughter Louisa Thomson is at the top of the next page):

There is a lot to unpack here. Tempie is 27 years old. Daniel and Tempie's son Allen Lewis is twelve years old and was born in Alabama. That means that Daniel and Tempie's relationship began in 1837 or early 1838, at the very latest, when Tempie was perhaps as young as 14 years old. Among other things, that creates an awkward overlap with the birth of wife Betsy's last child in March of 1838. Had Betsy and Daniel separated or divorced before her baby was born? It was fairly common for men to start second families before finalizing a divorce from a previous wife. It may be that Daniel had left Betsey and before he was able to get a divorce, she died. So far, no marriage record has been found for Tempie and Daniel, but they would have needed to be legally married at some point in order for the children to have his last name. Marriage records for Jackson County, Alabama, were burned by Federal soldiers during the Civil War, so it may not be possible to find a marriage record for Tempie and Daniel. Allen Lewis's birth in Alabama would mean that John D. Lewis was very much aware of the situation. At the time of John D. Lewis wrote his will, Daniel had either had one child with Tempie and one on the way or two children. I don't think that John D. Lewis would have frowned on a second marriage if Daniel was a widower; however, if Daniel abandoned his first wife and children for a young girl, John may have found that unforgivable enough to disinherit Daniel and award his share of the estate to the first wife and children. 

The next child, Susan E. Lewis, was born in 1840 in Arkansas, probably in Crittenden County.  Daniel and Tempie were in Tennessee for the birth of Larkin R. Lewis in 1842 and Charlotte E. Lewis in 1843. By 1848, Tempie was with William Thomson. Their daughter Louisa Thomson was born in 1849. That means Tempie and Daniel's relationship ended between 1843 and 1847. 

The children of Daniel A. Lewis and Tempie DeSpain:

    7. Allen Lewis b.c. 1838 AL
    8. Susan E. Lewis b.c. 1840 Ark
    9. Larkin R. Lewis b.c. 1842 TN
    10. Charlotte E. Lewis b.c. 1843 TN

In 1854, Tempie Thomson joined with her DeSpain siblings in a suit to have her children recognized as the heirs of her father John DeSpain. This suit was filed in Harden County, Tennessee, and further solidifies her identity as Tempie (DeSpain) Lewis Thomson. 

Among the descendants of Betsey (Young) Hughes Lewis, there is the story that Daniel Lewis went west in 1848 to make his fortune, leaving his children with the Youngs. Three or four years later, he wrote that he had his fortune and was headed home, but never arrived. 

Daniel went as far west as Texas. In 1847, Daniel A. Lewis can be found on the Hopkins County, Texas tax list. Note that Tempie's brother Benjamin DeSpain is next to Daniel on this list:

Daniel A. Lewis did not pay taxes on land that year but did pay a poll tax. Also, in 1847, Daniel's sister Margaret (Lewis) Daugherty married Tempie's brother John DeSpain in Hopkins County. Several other Lewis siblings were in Hopkins county by then: Wiley Lewis, Matilda (Lewis) Mason, and Jane (Lewis) Wardlow. Several of Tempie's DeSpain relatives were there as well as major leaders of the Alabama Restoration Movement (Disciples of Christ). You would think this might be awkward for Daniel. 

Even so, he was still in Hopkins County in 1848, where he continued to only pay a poll tax:

After 1848, Daniel A. Lewis is absent from the Hopkins County, Texas tax list. That year he appears in  Henderson County, Texas, where he married Margaret (Masters) Digman on 25 June 1848:

Margaret was the widow of John J. Digman. 

By 1850, Daniel and Margaret had two children:

There is a lot to be learned from this census. Daniel A. Lewis was 44 years old, so he was born in Kentucky in about 1806/7. His birth would have been in either Knox County or Greene County, Kentucky. Although he had real estate in 1850, he styled himself as a hunter rather than a farmer. The children John M. Lewis and Missouri T. Lewis, both one year old, were evidently twins.

By 1860, was on the Dallas County, Texas census with her third husband, Samuel Hankins Newby. They had married in Dallas County on 12 December 1854. Again, the census reveals additional information:


Daniel A. Lewis and Margaret had at least one more child before their marriage ended - either by divorce or by the death of Daniel.

Children of Margaret Masters and Daniel A. Lewis

    11. John Moses Lewis b. Apr 1849, Henderson Co., TS
    12. Missouri Texana Lewis b. Apr 1849, Henderson Co., T
    13. Amanda Jane Lewis b. 25 Nov 1852, TX

It appears from existing records, that Margaret and Samuel H. Newby's marriage ended in divorce since he remarried after 1870, and Margaret was living with her daughter Amanda Jane (Lewis) Smith in 1880. 

In 1852, Daniel A. Lewis would have been only 46 years old. Did he start another family somewhere else? Did he die? At this point, his trail has run cold. I hope it's just a temporary impasse in locating more information about him. I tend to doubt that he returned to Madison County, Alabama, and died there in 1855. The only source that I have found for that piece of information is a Findagrave memorial with no burial information, no photograph of a tombstone, and no sources. 

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Wiley Lewis, Son of John D. Lewis

        ©  Kathy Duncan, 2023

On 14 January 1840, John D. Lewis of Jackson County, Alabama wrote his will and left his son Wiley Lewis five dollars, which effectively disinherited him. In Ann Sharp's 1872 deposition, she stated that John D. Lewis told her that Wiley was disinherited because of  "his recklessness & dissipation." Recklessness probably meant that he disregarded any risks that followed from his actions. Those actions could have been connected to monetary matters - he could have been a gambler or maybe just a spendthrift. Dissipation implies that he was perhaps a wastrel - spending too much, drinking too much, etc. The image that springs to mind is a penniless drunk who would just squander his inheritance on the sins of the flesh. 

It's interesting to note that no matter how disgusted John D. Lewis was with Wiley, he left his other son Daniel A. Lewis only one dollar. What could Daniel's transgression have been?! It's also interesting to consider that while John D. Lewis went to great pains to leave Daniel's share of his estate to Daniel's first wife Betsy (Young) Lewis and her children, no such provision was made for Wiley's wife and children. 

In researching, Wiley Lewis, a totally different sort of man than what one might imagine emerges from the documents that are available so far. He seems to have been a respected, socially upstanding young man. He held several community offices, where he seems to have served competently. He may have had the occasional drink, but there is no record of him being arrested for being drunk. If John D. Lewis had joined in with the Disciples of Christ, as the rest of the family seems to have done during the Great Restoration Movement, then he would have been intolerant of any drinking. It seems more likely that Wiley may have had a tendency toward grand ideas in his investments. However, his actual financial ruin did not occur until several years after John D. Lewis died.

Let's start at the beginning.

Wiley Lewis married Charlotte Bricker on 24 October 1821 in Madison County, Alabama. They were married by Rev. Ephraim D. Moore, a minister of the Disciples of Christ. Ephraim D. Moore was related by marriage to Ann Sharp. He migrated to Red River County, Texas in 1835, probably with Mansel W. Matthews. 

Wiley Lewis had settled in Crittenden County, Arkansas by 1829, so he had already gone west. According to the Territorial Papers of the United States, vol. 19, Wiley Lewis served as a magistrate of the Canadian township of Crittenden County, Arkansas in 1829 and again in 1831 and 1835. 

Composition of the Wiley Lewis household on the 1830 Crittenden Census:

Wiley Lewis 001031-20001

One male 10-15 = unknown (not a child of Charlott's)

Three males 20 - 30 = three unknowns

One male 30 - 40 = Wiley Lewis

Two females under 5 = Matilda Lewis? and one unknown

One female 20 - 30 = Charlotte Bricker (probably in her mid to late 20s)?

In 1837, Wiley Lewis was commissioned as a Colonel for Crittenden's regiment in the U.S. Army. He served in the 2nd Division under Major General Stephen V.R. Ryan. As the Colonel, Wiley was required to organize his regiment into battalions and companies. Everything indicates that he fulfilled his responsibilities. 

Starting in 1838, Wiley began purchasing tracks of land, mostly through the Real Estate Bank of the State of Arkansas. He had also formed an alliance with William D. Ferguson. At some point, they may have formed a partnership of sorts. In 1838, William D. Ferguson was embroiled in a feud with Bill Strong of St. Francis County, who accused Ferguson of acquiring land from William Cherry in some nefarious manner. Ferguson wrote a long defense of his actions and character that was published in the Arkansas Times and Advocate of Little Rock on Monday, 3 September 1838. However, Ferguson did not stop there. He recruited a small army of allies to provide depositions swearing that they knew Ferguson to be honest in his dealings with Cherry. Wiley Lewis was one of those allies. He joined with Joseph S. Neely, Robert C. Dean, and P.P. Whalin to issue a simple statement that they knew Strong's claims to be "false and slanderous." 

In 1839, Wiley Lewis was sued by James H. Rogers, but the case was nonsuited. 

By 1840, Wiley Lewis was paying taxes on at least six tracks of land in Crittenden County: 

This is the point at which John D. Lewis made the decision to disinherit Wiley by leaving him only $5. My guess is that John D. Lewis thought his son was living beyond his means in an unsustainable manner. Since they were not living near each other, it would be interesting to know what tipped him off. Perhaps Wiley was asking his father for money to cover his expenses or to use in expanding his holdings even more.

Composition of the Wiley Lewis household on the 1840 Jasper Township, Crittenden County, Arkansas Census:

Wiley Lewis 0101102-11001

One male 5 - 9 = unknown

One male 15 - 19 = unknown

One male 20 - 29 = unknown

Two males 40 - 49 = Wiley Lewis and one unknown

One female 1 - 4 = Lucinda Lewis

One female 5 - 9 = Matilda Lewis?

One female 20 - 29 = unknown, probably not Charlotte

By 1844, Wiley Lewis was deep in debt and had left Arkansas. Note that he was accompanied in his downfall by William D. Ferguson:

By 1848, Wiley Lewis was in Hopkins County, Texas where his daughter Matilda Lewis married Baily Ashmore on 20 July 1848. They were all together on the 1850 census for Hopkins County, Texas, where they were near neighbors to Wiley's sisters Margaret (Lewis) DeSpain and Matilda (Lewis) Mason: 

Wiley Lewis has not been found on the 1860 census. By 1860, his daughter Matilda was living with her husband in Hunt County, Texas. Wiley was not living with them. However, a Wiley Lewis purchased land in Hunt County in the 1850s, so he may have moved with the Ashmores. 

Nothing additional has been learned about Lucinda Lewis nor about what appears to be several older Lewis children. There is still a lot of research to be done on Wiley Lewis. 

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Rev Michael Mason Sr's Timeline

       ©  Kathy Duncan, 2023

I am still knee-deep in getting caught up with my posts about the children of John D. Lewis. However, because I lack the discipline of researchers who stick to one project and see it through to completion, I became momentarily distracted by my Mason line. That's only natural because my Matilda Lewis, daughter of John D. Lewis, married William Mason. The Masons and the Lewises do rub shoulders with each other in Alabama. 

The timeline for William Mason's grandfather Rev. Michael Mason Sr., which was put together by William Donald Mason and Sylvia Anderson, looks roughly like this:

1783 - 1787    Guilford County, North Carolina

1789 - 1796    Marlboro County, South Carolina

1796 - 1798    Carter County, Tennessee

1802 - 1806    Burke County, North Carolina

1812 - 1814    Bedford County, Tennessee

1819 - 1832    Madison County, Tennessee

This is the sort of timeline that, frankly, makes me a little nervous. It's a lot of movement within very short bursts of time. Could this be accurate or is there more than one Michael Mason to contend with? Can it be documented in some way that this is the same Michael Mason?

From Madison County, Alabama in 1832 back to Carter County, Tennessee in 1796, the research is on solid ground with documentation that traces Michal Mason's movements. 

William Donald Mason's research established that in 1791 Michael Mason of Marlboro County, South Carolina sold land that he owned in Guilford County, North Carolina after he had removed to Marlboro County. 

That means, at the most, this timeline deals with two Michael Masons and not an assortment of Michael Masons. 

The problem now focuses on whether this is one or two Michael Masons. Is there a way to document that Michael Mason in Marlboro County, South Carolina removed to Carter County, Tennessee? 

Enter deed records of Richmond County, North Carolina. I found an abstract of some Richmond County, North Carolina records, which document that in 1794, a man named  Michael Mason of Marlboro County, South Carolina sold his land in Richmond County, North Carolina to Joel Beggett. There was not enough information in those abstracts to help me determine much about Michael Mason because the creator's focus was on the Baggett family, not the Mason family. 

It was time for me to wade into the Richmond County, North Carolina records and see if Michael Mason of Marlboro County, South Carolina, generated any more records there. To be fair, I came across these abstracts a year or so ago and made no headway with them. It's probable that the Richmond County, North Carolina records were not fully digitized at the time. 

Anyway, I went back into Family Search's catalog and surveyed the Richmond County, North Carolina deeds, which are currently not indexed on Family Search. I found that in October 1793, Michael Mason of Marlboro County, South Carolina purchased land from Barnabas Kipper of Richmond County, Tennessee. It's worth noting that Joel Beggett witnessed that transaction. Then in June of 1800, Michael Mason of Carter County, Tennessee sold the same piece of land to Henry William Harrington of Richmond County, North Carolina. That deed was witnessed by Josiah Kipper and John Robinson. Both of these deeds were conveniently (for me) rerecorded in Richmond County, North Carolina Deed Book U pages 350 - 352.

Richmond Co., NC Deed Bk U p 350

These two deeds, taken together, document that Michael Mason of Marlboro County, South Carolina, and Michael Mason of Carter County, Tennessee, are the same person. Therefore, the timeline does, indeed, deal with one person. 

At this time, I have not found any indication that Michael Mason of Marlboro County, South Carolina, ever lived in Richmond County, North Carolina, but the two counties border each other, so it makes sense that Michael Mason might have lived in Marlboro County while owning land in Richmond County. Still, I need to keep in mind that there also might be family connections between Michael Mason and the Harringtons, Beggetts/Baggetts, and Kippers.

It is also disappointing that nothing in the Richmond County, North Carolina deeds indicates a wife for Michael.  

While the research of William Donald Mason and Sylia Anderson is invaluable, I owe a huge debt to the Baggett family researcher who put an abstract of his or her research online. 

Now, the Micheal Mason timeline provides a roadmap for where to look for possible wives for himself and spouses for his children - not to mention other Masons to whom Michael might be related. 

Monday, January 2, 2023

Ann M. Sharp's Deposition - 1872

      ©  Kathy Duncan, 2023

On 26 February 1872, Ann M. Sharp provided a deposition in the lawsuit of F. A. Bryant v. John Fitzpatrick. That suit was filed in McNairy County, Tennessee by the children of Elizabeth (Lewis) and Green B. Babb against their stepmother Mary (Broom) Babb and her husband John Fitzpatrick. At the center of the lawsuit was the inheritance that the elder Babb children should have received from their mother's inheritance from her own father's estate - John D. Lewis. To determine what Elizabeth's inheritance was, depositions were taken regarding the children of John D. Lewis. Just to make it interesting, the suit was filed thirty years after John D. Lewis died, which meant that some of his heirs were deceased or had moved from Tennessee. 

The depositions in this lawsuit were critical because the probate records of McNairy County, Tennessee were lost in a fire. One of the 1872 documents in the lawsuit is from a county clerk who stated that there was a fire in 1866 that destroyed all the probate records. That particular fire is not accounted for in the record losses for McNairy County on Family Search's wiki page. 

Ann M. Sharp lived in McNairy County, Tennessee, and was married to John Sharp. Her maiden name was Wardlow. In an earlier post, I related her connection by marriage to Ephraim D. Moore who performed the marriage of John D. Lewis's son Wiley Lewis to Charlotte Bricker.  Ann Sharp's deposition provided important information about some of the Lewis siblings. 

Cover Sheet:
F.A. Bryant et al
John Fitzpatrick et al
Filed 26 February 1872
Ann Sharp
about sale &
circumstances of
Lewis ded'd

F A Bryant et al          }
vs                                }
John Fitzpatrick et al  }
In the Chancery Cout of McNairy County - State of Tennessee
Deposition of Ann M Sharp witness for Plaintiffs in the above case taken upon notice on the 23rd of Feby 1872 at the office of W J Sutton Justice of the peace in and for said County in the 9th Civil district in the presents of the plaintiff and defendant. The said witness Ann M Sharp aged 65 (sixty five) years being duly sworn deposed as follows

1st Was you acquainted with John D Lewis before his death if so where did he live and about what time did he die

Ans. I was well acquainted with John D. Lewis before and up to the time of his death he lived in the 9th civil district McNairy County & he died at his home in the same district at what time he died I am not positive I think at about the year 43 or 44

2nd Was you acquainted with him sufficiently for you to know anything about his situation and of his business before and up to the time of death

Ans. I have intimately acquainted with him John D. Lewis, and know him to be a man in fair circumstances

3rd Do you know that he made his last will and testament before his death and if so who was the executors and witnesses of said will and what was the nature of the provisions in said will & was the share of Elizabeth Babb set apart to sole and seperate use during her natural life and afterwards to go to her children

[Commentary: Ann Sharp would have been about 36 at the time of John D. Lewi's death. She would have been a contemporary of his eldest children. Here, she reveals the location of his death: at home in the 9th district of McNairy County, Tennessee.]

Ans. I heard him say at my house a short time before his death that he had made his will & Henry Lewis and Joel Lewis were the executors the witnesses to the will I do not remember I heard him say that he had made a provision for Emily (his youngest child) over and above her share I also heard him say that he had made his wife and equal sharer with his children. Except his two sons Wiley & Daniel Lewis whom he had made no provision for in his will As to the share of (Elizabeth Babb his daughter) being set apart to her and separate use during her natural life I do not know

4th State if you can the reason why he did not in his will make Daniel Lewis & Wiley Lewis Equal shares with the other heirs

Ans. I heard him say that he did not make any provisions in his will for his son Wiley Lewis on account of his recklessness & dissipation as to the cause of his disinheriting his son Daniel Lewis I do not know.

5th Was you at the sale of the personal property of the said John D Lewis and if so state as near as you can what was sold what it Brought State particularly how many negroes were sold who bought them and what did they bring

Ans. I was at the sale which lasted two days there was two negro men and one negro woman and child Sold at the sale Benjamin Sanders Bought one of the Negro men. I do not know what he brought Aaron Rice a son in Law of John D Lewis bought the other three they being a family the family I have mentioned were likely young negroes and my impression is that they sold very high he had good stock Horses and cattle and mules & hogs all sold at the sale also had good household and Kitchen furniture all of which was sold

[Commentary: This portion of Ann Sharp's deposition documents that Emily Lewis was John D. Lewis's youngest child, that his widow was to receive a child's share, that Wiley and Daniel were disinherited, and that Aaron Rice was a son-in-law. Wiley was disinherited because of "his recklessness and dissipation." Wiley's recklessness and dissipation will be covered in another post, but I think he was of a much higher character than this would lead us to believe. That might be reflected in his inheritance of $5. Daniel A. Lewis, however, received only $1. His transgression is never spoken of in any way in any of the documents in the lawsuit. Although Ann's deposition does not say so, Henry and Joel Lewis were John D. Lewi's elder sons. We can guess, though, that John D. Lewis was even more displeased with Daniel than he was with Wiley. Benjamin Sanders needs to be researched.]

6th Do you not know that said John D Lewis was a very cautious man never going in debt and did not owe anything at the time of his death and do you not further know that he had on hand at the time of his death a considerable amt of money

Ans. I think he was a very cautious man about going in debt. I do not think he was in debt much when he died I do not know whether he had money on hand or not at the time of his death

7th Do you not know that he John D Lewis at the time of his death owned a great deal of Land and that said Lands and also the personal property was sold for distribution among the heirs and not of pay debts

Ans I do not know how much land he owned I know of his owning four tracts of land in this county and land in Alabama which I think was very valuable. the Land here was not worth so much My understanding is that the land was sold for distribution among the heirs also the personal property.

8th Do you know that G B Babb as agent for his wife Elizabeth Babb daughter of the said John D Lewis bid off a portion of said Lands and was if not there and even afterward considered to be her Land Until her death and her childrens afterward

Ans. My understanding is that G B Babb did bid off certain portions of the lands and I afterwards heard Elizabeth Babb say that on account of difficulties between herself and husband she had been abused and driven from but now she had a home of her own and would leave no more

[Commentary: We get a glimmer of John D. Lewis's personality here - he was a "very cautious man" who avoided debt. Although John D. Lewis went to extremes to disinherit sons Wiley and Daniel because he did not approve of their lifestyles, his will made no provisions to protect daughter Elizabeth's inheritance from her husband G.B. Babb.]

9th Do you know whether or not that said lands were paid for by discount out of said Elizabeth Babbs distributive share of her father's Estate

Ans. I think that the lands bought by G. B. Babb at the Sale were bought and paid for in that way that is according to my best recollection of the matter

10th Was you well acquainted with G.B. Babb before the time of the death of Said John D Lewis and do you not know that Said G.B. Babb was at that time in very embarrassing circumstances having had to make over his property in order to evade the payment of debts and could not no did he own any thing of himself and therefore could not have paid for said lands with his own means

 Ans. I was tolerably well acquainted with him before and at the time of the death of the said John D Lewis. the report at that time was that G.B. Babb was in embarrassed circumstances on account of recklessness. he had but little property

Ann x M. Sharp

The forgoing deposition was taken before me as stated in the caption by [?] reduced to writing by me and I certify that I am not interested in the cause nor of kin or consel to either of the parties and that I sealed them and delivered them up to F.A. Bryant Without being out of my possession or altered after they were taken Given under my hand the 23d day of February 1872

W.P. Sutton J.P.

witness fee
1 day Travel 10 miles
J.P. Fee         $1.00
witness..         1.40

[Commentary: Here we learn that G. B. Babb was basically broke as a result of his poor decisions; therefore, the land he purchased from the estate had to be paid for out of Elizabeth's cash settlement. We know from other documents that he was brash and prone to violence.]

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Welcome, 2023!

     ©  Kathy Duncan, 2023

I don't know where the time goes! It's time to greet yet another new year and pause for a moment to take stock of the old year.

This has been one of my least productive years in terms of blogging about my research even though a lot of research happened. Only fifteen new posts made it to the blog. That was partly because I researched and blogged on my hobby blog. Wait! What? There are other hobbies besides genealogy?! Apparently. I spent a large block of time researching antique dolls. I find that researching people or subjects not found in my personal genealogy expands and strengthens my research muscles. Most importantly, because I am not emotionally attached to those things, I can be much more ruthlessly objective in my research. That objectivity is something that I always need to bring back with me to my own genealogy research. 

Okay, time for the stats. 2022 ended with 151,868 page views, an increase of 15,171 page views.

The most popular of the 2022 posts was Opal Miller and Henry Mayhew Elope, 1907. Who does not love a romance story?  

The second most popular post was Old House Location, Fred and Myrtle (Dendy) Duncan. This surprised me. This was the location of a farmhouse that my grandparents rented when they first married in the early 1930s. The house no longer stands and has not during my lifetime. Since my father was an only child, there are not many of us who would care about it.

The third most popular post was Opal (Miller) Mayhew's Illegal Operation. The post about her elopement was a follow-up to this post about her death following an abortion that her husband and a doctor "friend" performed on her. This particular post was a follow-up to John Deloss Brown's Letter, 1913 that was written in 2021. 

As usual, my favorite posts are not the most popular posts. My favorites always involve some sort of breakthrough. This year's breakthrough posts involved uncovering the identity of women, and those are always at the top of my list of favorite breakthroughs.

This year I finally found out what became of John D. Lewis's youngest daughter Emily. I am hoping that the post, Emily (Lewis) Hanks, Daughter of John Lewis, will eventually find its way to her descendants who are interested in sharing information. After researching Emily Lewis, I returned to the problem of identifying her mother, which has been an issue since I discovered her existence several years ago. This time, however, she also fell into place. I was able to post her identity in Jane Dameron, Wife of John D. Lewis

Currently, I have several posts about John D. Lewis and his family in the works. Maybe this will be the year that documentation about his wife or parents is found. Well, one can dream. 

I see that last year, I wanted to make progress on my Cawthon line. I did spend time working on it, but nothing new was found, so I still need to push on that.  And I absolutely need to dig back into the Dabb/Harding Collection.